Skip to main content

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions

pa1468c.jpg Paul Lachine

Ten QE Questions

Most observers regard unconventional monetary policies such as quantitative easing as necessary to jump-start growth in today’s anemic economies. But questions about the effectiveness and risks of such policies have begun to multiply as well.

NEW YORK – Most observers regard unconventional monetary policies such as quantitative easing (QE) as necessary to jump-start growth in today’s anemic economies. But questions about the effectiveness and risks of QE have begun to multiply as well. In particular, ten potential costs associated with such policies merit attention.

First, while a purely “Austrian” response (that is, austerity) to bursting asset and credit bubbles may lead to a depression, QE policies that postpone the necessary private- and public-sector deleveraging for too long may create an army of zombies: zombie financial institutions, zombie households and firms, and, in the end, zombie governments. So, somewhere between the Austrian and Keynesian extremes, QE needs to be phased out over time.

Second, repeated QE may become ineffective over time as the channels of transmission to real economic activity become clogged. The bond channel doesn’t work when bond yields are already low; and the credit channel doesn’t work when banks hoard liquidity and velocity collapses. Indeed, those who can borrow (high-grade firms and prime households) don’t want or need to, while those who need to – highly leveraged firms and non-prime households – can’t, owing to the credit crunch.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/2kl5iAO;
  1. op_dervis1_Mikhail SvetlovGetty Images_PutinXiJinpingshakehands Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

    Cronies Everywhere

    Kemal Derviş

    Three recent books demonstrate that there are as many differences between crony-capitalist systems as there are similarities. And while deep-seated corruption is usually associated with autocracies like modern-day Russia, democracies have no reason to assume that they are immune.

    7